Two years after unveiling the E-Type — built between 1961 and 1975, and known as one of the most beautiful vehicles ever designed — the folks at Jaguar rolled out a lighter version of the model specifically developed for racing .
Dubbed E-Type Lightweight, it featured an all-aluminum body and engine block, and had most of its interior trim removed, making it 250 pounds lighter than the standard E-Type. Only 12 units of this track-purpose vehicles were built, although Jaguar’s initial plan was to conceive 18 of them.
Believe it or not, the Brits have just decided to make use of the remaining designated chassis numbers and construct six more Lightweight E-Types 50 years after the original example left the factory. The sports cars will be built to their original specifications and fitted with the same 3.8-liter, straight-six engine.
Jaguar has yet to mention when the hand-built coupes will become available or at what price, but word has it each vehicle will fetch about $1.7 million. Despite costing more than a brand-new McLaren P1 , the Lightweight E-Types are expected to sell like hot cakes and it appears the company will hand them over to established Jaguar collectors that already own historic race cars.
Since we don’t own any Jaguars and our pockets arn’t deep enough, we’re not hoping to take delivery of one of these race-bred beauties, but we’re hoping to see them on the track as soon as they’re out of the factory gate.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Jaguar Lightweight E-Type.
Although automakers such as Caterham and Morgan are known for building vehicles that still resemble their vintage ancestors, none of these companies benefit from Jaguar’s rich racing heritage. Thus none of these companies have any race-spec vehicle linked to a similar, historic achievement in their lineup, basically leaving us with no real competitor for this section.
However, E-Type enthusiasts that can’t afford or gain access to a brand-new Lightweight coupe can take it to Eagle, a small British venture that’s been busy building and selling E-Type tribute cars. Weighing only 2,200 pounds, Eagle’s Lightweight Speedster bears a close resemblance to the original car, while packing modern technology and a more powerful engine.
The unit of choice is an aluminum, 4.7-liter, inline six that generates 310 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque. That’s nearly 50 ponies more than the original E-Type, who would later lose some its output due to emission regulations. The powerplant is mated to an aluminum five-speed gearbox, allowing it to push the roadster from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds, as quick as a modern XKR .
Jaguar is to build six perfect reproductions of the original, race-bred Lightweight E-type that was created in 1963. The new cars are the ‘missing’ six vehicles from the brand’s Lightweight E-type project, which originally started in February 1963 with the objective of building 18 ‘Special GT E-type Cars.’
Only 12 of the aluminum bodied Lightweight E-type vehicles were eventually built, the last in 1964, the remaining six designated chassis numbers having lain dormant, until now.
The new cars will be hand-built in-house by Jaguar’s finest craftsmen. Each car will be constructed to the exact specifications of their original 1960s forebears – including the 3.8-litre straight-six engine.
The Lightweight carried approximately 114kg (250lb) less weight than a standard E-type, thanks to its all-aluminum body and engine block, a lack of interior trim and exterior chrome work and a host of further weight-saving features including lightweight, hand-operated side windows.
Jaguar expects a high demand for the six Lightweight E-types. Established Jaguar collectors, especially those with historic race car interests, will be prioritised amongst those potential customers who express interest.